Joel’s Blog: Penetang, Home Sweet Home

From: March 5, 2014

Early this morning I was told to collect my possessions for my transfer to Central North Correctional Center in Penetanguishene, Ontario.  When my name was called I said my goodbyes to the guys on my range.  It’s only been three weeks but I’ve definitely established some friendships.  I will miss many of the people I’ve met.

After being shackled, a group of us were brought to the paddy wagon.  The ride up to Penetang was not a pleasant one.  The heat was on ‘high’ and I sat next to a man with a psychological disorder.  He rambled on about nonsensible things causing me to eventually close my eyes and begin meditating.  I transport myself to a wonderful place.  I take myself to a beach in a faraway place – I’m playfully running from a beautiful woman through sand dunes on the edge of the world.   The wind blows hard, stinging my body.

Suddenly the vehicle learches to a halt – we are here.  After processing, a group of us sit waiting in a room to be brought to our ranges.  We still have our canteen items so we pull out our cards and begin an impromptu game of spades that is quickly cut short.

I’m in my new cell now, on my new range.  I can safely say, now, that this place is awful.  Unlike the Toronto West Detention Center, this place feels like a stereotypical jail.  It’s a huge bland “super-jail” and a shining example of Canada’s movement toward mass incarceration.  I will most likely spend the next twelve months here.  I will now lay down with a candy bar and a book to do some time.

Home sweet home.

Written by Joel Bitar, an American activist serving a 20-month sentence in Canada for charges stemming from the 2010 Toronto G20 protests.